Personhood USA Responds to 'Life of the Mother' Question on Presidential Pledge

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Following the signing of Personhood USA’s presidential pledge by five of the Republican presidential candidates, Personhood USA is responding to questions of whether an “exception” to save the mother’s life in abortion law is compatible with the document.

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Following the signing of Personhood USA’s presidential pledge by five of the Republican presidential candidates, Personhood USA is responding to questions of whether an “exception” to save the mother’s life in abortion law is compatible with the document.

During a recent forum in Iowa, Governor Rick Perry was asked why he had signed the pledge which maintains that “Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited” if he also believes that children conceived by rape or incest are not possessed of the same right to live. In response, Governor Perry related how he had undergone a “transformation” after a conversation with Personhood USA spokeswoman Rebecca Kiessling whose conception was the result of rape. “Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest,” said Perry.

On December 28, it was reported that Perry had clarified his position by "stating that the life of the mother is the only exception in which he’d support abortion."

Regarding cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the pledge states: “I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise. I recognize that in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.”

The pledge explains that both mother and child should be recognized as patients, a position based on physician testimony that the violent abortion procedure is never medically necessary.

Dr. Patrick Johnston of the Association of Pro-life Physicians explains: “When the life of the mother is truly threatened by her pregnancy, if both lives cannot simultaneously be saved, then saving the mother’s life must be the primary aim. If through our careful treatment of the mother’s illness, the preborn patient inadvertently dies or is injured, this is tragic and, if unintentional, is not unethical and is consistent with the pro-life ethic. But the intentional killing of an unborn baby by abortion is never necessary. “

“There are no exceptions in Personhood USA’s presidential pledge because there are no situations where it becomes necessary to dismember a baby,” added Jennifer Mason, spokesperson for Personhood USA. "There is an acknowledgement; however, that in cases such as ectopic pregnancy, the death of the child is unavoidable. With the passage of federal or state personhood amendments, recognizing the personhood rights of both mother and child, women will still of course have access to life-saving treatments and medical care. Procedures to treat both mom and baby can potentially lead to happier outcomes for both patients, whereas abortion procedures, which are dangerous as it stands already, intentionally kill a child."

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